INDIANAPOLIS — For 646 minutes of the postseason, Providence didn’t allow a goal.
With 8:14 left in Saturday’s Class A state championship game, an unexpected source ended the Pioneer scoreless streak and lifted Guerin Catholic to a 1-0 victory.
In the 73rd minute of the title game, Guerin junior Zach Garvey scored just his third goal of the season on a rebound to give the Golden Eagles their first state championship.
“Zach has a great shot, but he just doesn’t take it a lot because he’s an unselfish player who really prides himself on feeding other people,” Guerin head coach John Cech said. “I’m just so happy for him. That was the only goal they’ve given up, so I was thinking earlier today that this was going to be a one-goal game.”
The 10 minutes leading up to the goal, the Eagles had attacked Providence keeper Jeff Wiles with shot after shot. With just over eight minutes to play, a shot by Guerin star George Poppas was deflected to the feet of Garvey at the top of the goal box. Garvey settled the ball and rocketed the shot through the vaunted Pioneer defense and past Wiles.
“I feel that I could have gotten that,” said Providence keeper Jeff Wiles, who had earned all seven shutouts during the playoff run. “I blame myself on that. The defense played amazing.”
“He had a good strike,” senior midfielder Brent Hesse said. “I just didn’t have time to react or get to it.”
The Pioneers expressed pride in being the first Providence boys’ soccer team to reach the state finals. However, the overwhelming emotion was disappointment.
“I’m glad that we got here and set a record for our school, but it sucks losing,” Wiles said.
“We had a great season. We can hold our heads high, but we were so close,” Hesse said. “We were within seven minutes of getting to extra time or getting a lucky goal. It could have gone either way. They had more chances but it was still a 0-0 game.”